Violence mars registration in ARMMPhilippine Daily Inquirer
COTABATO CITY—Violence has marred the holding of a new registration of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao amid optimism that the process of cleansing the region’s voters’ list will succeed in giving elections in ARMM a fresh and clean start.
Among the cases of violence that left a dark mark in an otherwise smooth and peaceful holding of registration in ARMM provinces were the killing of a registrant in Lanao del Sur and the beating of a member of an election watchdog in Maguindanao, which is notorious for bloodshed and killings.
Election Commissioner Armando Velasco said that in Lumbaca-Unayan in Lanao del Sur, a registrant, who had been complaining about the way the registration in the town was being conducted, was shot dead.
Samira Ali-Gutoc, women sectoral representative in the ARMM’s Regional Legislative Assembly, earlier identified the victim as Said Guro.
Quoting sources from the town, Gutoc said Guro was outside the town’s municipal hall in Barangay Dilausan with other would-be registrants around 7 a.m. on Thursday when fired upon by a still unidentified assailant. The firearm used and the motive for the shooting were also not known.
“This brazen display of lawlessness deserves the highest condemnation,” Gutoc said.
Two Inquirer sources said Guro was among the people who gathered around the municipal hall to demand that the registration center located inside it be transferred to a “neutral venue.”
This, they argued, was to allow registrants identified with a potential opponent of the incumbent mayor, Tomama Guro, to file their voter applications. The incumbent mayor is allegedly using the municipal hall as his residence.
The Guro clan is split over political affiliations.
Velasco said a policeman also opened fire at registrants in Butig, Lanao del Sur, on Tuesday.
A separate military report said three civilians were injured in the shooting.
Velasco said that in Putik, Lanao del Sur, several election officers from Negros Occidental also walked out of the voters’ registration center after rival political supporters clashed nearby.
Led by Putik Election Officer Canda Wali Rasuman, the election officials left Putik town and established another registration center in Marawi City, he said.
In Maguindanao, a female volunteer of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) was attacked and harassed by supporters of a local official in Parang town on Monday.
Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV chair, said the coordinator, identified as Sarah Karamuddin, was mobbed after she refused to issue PPCRV identification cards to the politician’s supporters.
Acting ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman reminded politicians to leave the 10-day registration process alone. The new registration is to end on July 18.
Hataman said that despite reports of violence taking place in some areas, the registration went on smoothly.
Elsewhere in Mindanao, officials said dirty tricks by politicians are starting to emerge as elections draw near. Edwin Fernandez with reports from Ryan Rosauro, Dennis Santos and Richel Umel, Inquirer Mindanao